To Speak in Lifeless Tongues

To Speak in Lifeless Tongues
Review by The Mad Bibliographer, submitted on 27-Jul-1998

A version of this review will appear in The Vampire's Crypt 18 (Fall 1998). The Vampire's Crypt web site is:

David Niall Wilson. To Speak in Lifeless Tongues. (The Grails Covenant Trilogy 2) White Wolf, 1997; WW 11032; ISBN 1-56504-996-9; $5.99/$7.99.

Years have passed since the Knights Templar founded their order on the ancient Temple of Solomon, a site that Montrovant was sure sheltered the Holy Grail. Montrovant masterminded the founding of the Order so that human pawns could obtain the Grail from its guardian -- a being with powers even greater than his own. He is convinced that blood drunk from that vessel will bring him unparalleled power. But because of the machinations of the ancient, mad vampire Kli Kodesh, the treasure has slipped through Montrovant's fingers (in the preceding book, TO SIFT THROUGH BITTER ASHES). Kodesh has few fears, but boredom is foremost among them, and seeing Montrovant struggle to obtain the Grail is grand entertainment.

The Templars are now headquartered in France, under attack by King Philip and the Church. Both secular and religious powers believe that the Templars practice devil-worship, and they are not far wrong: Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, has fallen under the influence of Santos, a being who was created to guard the treasures that once lay beneath the temple of Solomon. Santos intends to use the power of the Templars to recoup his loss. Led by this creature, the Templars perform weird rituals to raise energies that de Molay hopes will save him and his men -- and for which Santos has far more sinister uses.

Believing that the Grail is among the treasures now with the Templars in France, Montrovant makes his way to the keep of Jacques de Molay, accompanied by his "offspring" Jeanne le Duc and another of the Kindred, Gwendolyn. Gwendolyn is a creature of mixed loyalties: She loves Montrovant, but it was Kli Kodesh who Embraced her and whose commands she must follow. She wants to help Montrovant -- but even when her master does not interfere directly with that goal, it is impossible to know just how Kodesh may be less directly using her as another source of entertainment.

Kli Kodesh has fingers in many pies: Not only does he give Montrovant clues (perhaps meant only to mislead him?); at the Templars' keep he is known as Father Kodesh and has taken a human servant, Ferdinand, into his confidence -- just far enough for him to endanger himself. Kli Kodesh also commands a band of Nosferatu who themselves guard a treasure -- but what is the treasure, and what does Kli Kodesh intend to do with it?

Although he is the central character, Montrovant is at times almost as enigmatic as Kli Kodesh, his moods swift to change, his reactions unpredictable. Between Montrovant, the machinations of Kodesh, and the carefully veiled movements of yet another powerful Kindred, TO SPEAK IN LIFELESS TONGUES contains its share of surprises -- as well as a small portion of World of Darkness Kindred politicking. And of course a lead-in to the sequel: TO DREAM OF DREAMERS LOST (ISBN 1-56504-997-7; $5.99/$7.99), slated for August publication.

Fanged Films

USA, 1972

Phillippines, 2001
Vampira 2000

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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